What made me prone to write this website? Why I wanted to share what I learned in order to help other people out there? The answer is pain! I went through so much pain (and I am still going through) that I want other people to avoid it. Also, I understood there are so many misconceptions in the current medicine that made me realize something needs to change. And to change something you need to act! So, this is my action in the hope to change these misconceptions and to help other people live a healthier life.
At the time I am writing I am 27 years old. Looking to my past I can see that my life overall was great until my nightmare began. I have always been that guy that was quite good in everything he was doing, not because I was better than other people but simply because I was putting more effort and passion than the others for reaching my goals. And so, I was always one of the best in my classes (from primary school to the university), I was good at football (I played several years at professional level, dreaming one day to reach the maximum division) and I had a satisfactory social life (I was the one always organizing events and parties with friends). All of a sudden, all of this disappeared! I was a completely destroyed man!
At the age of 17, I was still dreaming to have a professional football career, but I started to have many injuries. And it was weird because it was always on the right side of my leg: muscle strains, knee problems, ankle problems, groin pain, foot pain. All of these only on the right side.
All these injuries made me realize that my dream of becoming a professional football player would have stayed a dream for the rest of my life. And this is why I decided to enroll at the university at the age of 19 (Figure 1): I chose Electronic Engineering and in the meantime I was still playing football at a lower level, just to have some fun and to earn little money.
My university career was going great (I then graduated with honors at the end of my studies), but even if playing football at lower intensities I was still having a lot of injuries on my right side: I had a muscle strain in the same exact spot of my right quadriceps femoris five times in a row. This is when I realized that something was wrong!
The orthopedist that was following me at the time supposed the presence of a vertebral asymmetry. The Rx exam of pelvis and spine confirmed it (Figure 2): scoliosis, with pelvis rotation (left side 17mm higher than the right side) and shorter right leg. I had kyphosis and lordosis too. To counteract the asymmetry, he made the worst decision ever! He said I needed to wear particular insoles to balance the asymmetry (meaning the right insole higher than the left one).
I will understand only later in life that all my problems were starting from the head, not from the feet. Notice in the Rx how much the head is tilted on the right (cranial distortion). The shorter right leg? Just an alignment asymmetry coming from body’s compensations of the cranial distortion. But at the time I was unaware of this, so I went to a podologist for these insoles and he did specific exams to study and understand how my feet were bearing the weight of my body. Also in this case, the asymmetry was clear: in the right foot there was a maximum pressure peak of 560kPa (on the big toe), while in the left one the maximum peak was 365kPa (Figure 3). And this makes sense if you think that my head was tilted to the right and so my right side of the body had to bear its weight and compensate for it. This would also explain where all my injuries came from.
I started to wear these insoles for every activity and something changed, but for the worst: I had strange feeling in my mouth, it was tiring to talk, my mandible was deviating to the right, my scoliosis was increasing and my face became more asymmetrical. So, wearing insoles was actually aggravating my asymmetry and my cranial distortion.
In Figure 4, the cranial asymmetry can be noticed by comparing the level of the eyes (horizontal right line) with the occlusion plane (horizontal green line): the right eyes is lower than the left one, while the occlusion plane has a slope in the opposite direction. After 12 months my asymmetry worsened: one sign is the right incisor coming more in front of the left one. Notice a bit of hair loss too.
Many of you will not be able to realize the differences because they are subtle, but I have learnt that even a single millimeter in our mouth makes a huge difference in our body.
As soon as I noticed that something wrong was going on, I stopped wearing the insoles. I was unaware of my cranial distortion, but there was one thing I noticed: I started having a small squint. At the time, it was really absurd thinking that insoles were able to cause strabismus, but that was the reality and now I can say that it was logical: our body is an unique system and what happens to the head have repercussions to the feet and vice versa.
I visited an optometrist for my eyes problem and he confirmed anisocoria and eyes divergence. But he said something that actually changed my life: ‘All your problems come from your occlusion’. Well, he was more than right! So, he referred me to a TMJ specialist.
The TMJ specialist realized my problems and he decided to start a treatment: the appliance I was wearing was similar to a Function Generating Bite (Figure 5). I remember that the feelings with it was good: I always wanted to have it, removing it just for meals. When I was not wearing it, feelings were odd: I had sensations of my right side of the face collapsing, with strange muscular tensions.
With this appliance in the mouth, feelings were fine, so I was wearing it for every activity (sports, studying, etc). But I remember one strange thing. One day one of my friend said: ‘Is your face getting longer?’. Another day my sister said: ‘Is your nose changing shape?’. I was noticing the same thing but I was not able to explain it, so I replied: ‘I think that it is the appliance’. You know, we all grow up thinking that our bones are immutable and that our face is what it is and cannot change. But, the reality is that my face was changing! I did not know the effect of bone remodeling, I did not know that actually our face can change depending on the forces applied by the tongue and teeth to the maxilla (as John Mew successfully proved), I did not know that malocclusion was just a symptoms of a poor craniofacial development. I knew nothing! I was just trusting the doctors.
I also remember another thing: at some point in the treatment I started feeling a bit tired and a bit of foggy brain. And sometimes I was sad, but not sad for particular reasons, just sad, a kind of depression. Also in this case, I was not able to link neither my brain fog or my tiredness or my depression to the appliance.
Now I can explain the causes of brain fog or of my tiredness, while about depression is quite complicated. When it comes to psychology is very difficult to obtain clear statements, but what I can say is that the body is really an unique system: head to feet, body to mind, everything is connected. So, if your body is suffering in some way, so it will be your brain and psyche. Full stop!
Overall I was happy with the treatment and so we skipped to the next step: an upper splint, similar to the one in Figure 6. This was really hard and thick and sensations were weird from the first moments. It is really difficult to explain, but I was feeling stunned and dazed, as if I was not present, sleeping. Indeed, It was just the beginning of a real nightmare!
It was November 2015, I was 24 years old. Muscular tensions started to arise in the neck, especially the sternocleidomastoideus was really tight. I reported this to my TMJ specialist and the answer was: ‘It is normal, your body needs to adapt‘. Another lesson learnt: your body does not need to adapt, it immediately feels if something is right or wrong!
Day after day the situation was worsening: muscle stiffness propagated through the head (tension-type headache, mainly temporal and occipital areas) and back (especially in the upper trapezius). I started to feel chronic fatigue, like if I was too heavy and always tired.
I remember times where I was exactly feeling my head was not able to stay on the spine, collapsing as if it was too heavy. I got increased forward head posture and lordosis. My nasal septum deviated: blood and crusts were always present in the right nostril. Furthermore, my ability to sleep significantly diminished: I suffered insomnia and I was able to sleep just few hours per night. Sleeping was the only way for me to forget about the pain, but now I was not able to sleep either. My life was a continuous pain!
Then, my skin on the entire body started to chap like sand (a kind of desquamation, but with the peeled skin that was very fine). Also, I had urinary problems in form of incontinence. Muscle tensions further propagate to the face and scalp: I started to have massive hair loss (Figure 7). For me, all of these was a clear sign: my body was going through destruction!
Also neurological problems came. I suffered terrible brain fog. I was not able to remember anything: I was writing down everything I was doing or conversation I was having as a remainder. I was not able to remember words in both English and Italian (my native language), checking every time the spelling on the internet. I was not able to think, reason and do simple computations, as everything was not clear. I had vision problems: my eyes were too slow and I was not able to focus on anything. My eyes were easily tired and burning. I also experienced erectile dysfunction. Physically and mentally, I was totally destroyed!
Having all these symptoms, I decided to see a neurologist that prescribed a brain and cervical MRI: nothing came out from this exam. In the meanwhile, muscular tensions continued to increase and further propagated. My head and face were so tight that it was very difficult to perform any movement (eat, talk, smile): I was not able to normally open or close my mouth due to masseter stiffness. Frontal region was so in tension that the feeling was like my frontal muscles were not able to fit under the skin, as they were exploding. I had ears pain, as the ears were attached to the underlying tissues. Also, when I was talking, my girlfriend was saying ‘Luca, I do not understand what you are saying!‘. Indeed, I had strange feeling when talking and my speech was slurred.
It was April 2016. All these symptoms happened in just five months: everything was so quick, almost unbelievable! And this is also what I heard from my TMJ specialist: ‘This cannot be true, a splint cannot do this. You know Luca, sometimes people have some bad experience in the past that traumatize them and they do not even know it. Maybe you should visit a specialist and see if psycho-drugs can help you‘. What? Until five months ago I was fine, my life was ok. I knew I was not mad! Luckily I understood that the only thing that changed in my life was the splint. Even if I was not able to explain why, but I knew the splint was the problem.
I dismissed the TMJ specialist and I started to look for another one. Some symptoms were diminishing, new others appeared: feet pain, further difficulty to talk (as my mouth was not coordinated), vomit, voice loss. As you can see in Figure 8, I tried everything for my back and neck muscle pain:
- Cold and heat therapy.
- A collar.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
- Osteopathic treatments.
- Chiropractic treatments.
- Laser therapy.
- Inversion table.
Nothing worked! These were not the solutions for me: again, I interrupted any treatment. I was feeling completely hopeless and in constant massive pain. In these conditions I started having some strange thoughts: you know, after all, life was not that great…
And then, I was a wasted man, completely destroyed! Muscles were so tight that standing up was a huge pain. Doing every normal activity was a huge pain, even talking! The only relief was coming from lying down: I spent more than three months in a bed, completely unable to move or standing up for a walk, speaking just in essential situations to avoid pain. I also had tics. If that was life, I was regretting to be born and alive in this world!
I was avoiding any contact with other people, because talking was a massive pain for me, with headaches and neck pain. Many friend wanted to come visiting me, but I did not want to see anyone, because it would have been only a suffering for me and so this is how I lost many friends. The closest friends that visited me were not able to recognize me, my face was completely changed.
I was looking to find other specialists able to help but many times the answer was: “What you are saying it is not possible! Insoles and splints cannot do this, especially in such a short time.“. Doctors were always proposing psychological factors as a cause, my parents were thinking I was depressed, my relatives were not believing to my story. I was literally feeling alone, alone against the world!
I was really tired of everything and I lost trust in every single person, from doctors to people close to me. I thought this was the end for me! I did not know if it was better to accept all this pain for the rest of my life or if dying was not that bad after all.
Fortunately, every species has a survival instinct. Probably I had to thank it if I realized that, despite my brain fog, I was still an engineer! And, given a problem, engineers have to find a solution and this is the way I did. I started studying everything, every single theory available and see which one was matching my case. And this is how I came out with what you can find in this website. My problem? A cranial distortion (see Figure 9)!
I started to look for a solution. Some symptoms decreased, new ones arose, like irritable bowel syndrome, painful and swollen veins in the right arm, starry vision, pain in the right side of the chest. Overall I lost almost 10 kilograms. But after three months I was finally able to stand up and walk again.
I did the Chronic CerebroSpinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) test, finding out that in some position of the head my jugular veins were compressed, impeding blood flow to the brain. This exam is done for Multiple Sclerosis patients and, more interesting, my symptoms were exactly the ones Multiple Sclerosis patients experience at the beginning.
Here it is where I really started realizing that there are many misconceptions in the current medical world. Many diseases, syndromes and disorders are wrongly attributed to genetic and others have unknown causes. So, I continued to study in a broader way, trying to find answers to many questions I had on the human body. Every day has been (and still is) a learning day.
I always observe people around me. Every person I meet is a chance to learn. Every article I read is a chance to discover new points of view. The human body is so complex that there is always room to learn new things, but I came out with a thought: there is always a reason for everything! Maybe for me it was simpler to understand my problems started from my poor craniofacial development because they arose suddenly after a splint therapy. But imagine you grow up, you are ageing and these symptoms slowly appears year after year. How can you know that craniofacial development is to blame? Unfortunately, I also think there is no interests from the medical world to find the real causes of the diseases: I do not want to be a person that believe in conspiracy theories, but I learned on my skin that treating symptoms is the way for the medical world to make profits.
Now, I still have a long way to go for returning to a complete full life, but overall I improved a lot! I started to return enjoying some aspects of life and I am seeing the light after the darkness. After all, there is always the sunshine after a storm!
29 thoughts on “My Story”
Wow amazing story, you’re a very smart guy fascinating research! Have you fixed your asymmetry in the face is that even possible? Do you have any tests that i or others can do to check for misalignment? that would be very helpful.
Hi Sarah, there are two main factors that make me believe skull misalignment can be fixed:
1) Bone remodeling is a lifelong process and it is more relevant at suture’s sites.
2) The craniofacial complex is the richest in our body in terms of sutures, for example the suture in our skull expand back and forth when we breath (it is called Primary Respiratory Mechanism).
To check if you have asymmetries I think is straightforward: just look for asymmetries in your face and/or body. For example, one eye higher than the other, asimmetric nose and/or asimmetric nostrils, asimmetric ears, asimmetric teeth (in particular if the maxilla is canted), one shoulder higher than the other, hips misalignment, tilted head and so on. If you are not able to identify these features in front of a mirror, a photograph of yourself might help to analyse the situation.
Ah that makes sense however nobodies face (apparently) is ever perfectly symmetrical including celebrities, is the goal then to aim to become a supermodel, would having plastic surgery fix these issues or merely just mask the issue? and Did you manage to fix your asymmetry?
Nobody is perfectly symmetrical, just simply think that we have a preferred side for doing everything, heart on one side, brain subdivided in two different sides and so on. However, there is a clear distinction between a physiological asymmetry and a pathological asymmetry, where in the latter symptoms described in https://tmdocclusion.com/home/my-story/tmd-symptoms/ appear.
When talking about plastic surgery, what are you referring to? I think I have notably improved my asymmetries, otherwise I would not be able to do what I am doing today. Until two years ago I was lying down every day on a bed and since then every day it has been a little improvement. I am still not perfectly aligned and some symptoms still persist, however I am on a good road to fully recover.
Plastic surgery in terms of making your face more symmetrical like a nose job to fix asymmetry in the nose lets say from being punched and it becomes slightly crooked or jaw surgery to improve the visual aspects etc.
Im guessing thats what she means. You should really write a book or something or a course in solving these issues.
Probably few people would read a book. Nowadays, I think a website is the best way to reach the public. But thanks for the idea, maybe one day I will consider it. About surgeries, there are many things to discuss, I will maybe write an article at some point in the future about it.
Hi! Wow. What a website! You are a really awesome, intelligent person. Thank you for sharing all of this.
I definitely know I have TMD. I have been trying to correct it but didn’t have a term for it. This site is very validating for me.
I have sleep apnea and am now thinking that perhaps my sleep mask for the CPAP actually is pushing my maxilla back and down.
I am going to get the full mask that goes on the forehead.
I do massage and have studied some CranioSacral therapy. What is your experience of this? I do some self massage/cranio work on my face. I would love to connect more about this.
Hi Katie! Thanks for the appreciation, it is very important for me to receive a feedback from other people. It is also interesting for me to see that the concepts expressed in this website find confirmation in other people’s cases. Craniofacial development plays an important role in our body health and it is frustrating for me to see that it is neglected by the majority of medical practitioners. For example about sleep apnea, I found out that many of the proposed remedies might help in the short term, but they actually worsen the underlying causes in the long term:
– Sleep masks push the maxilla back.
– Mandibular advancement device (MAD) allows the lower jaw to be eased forward, but also in this case we need to remember some simple Physics principles: according to the Newton’s laws, for every external force that acts on an object there is a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction which acts back on the object which exerted that external force. Translating this for the MAD, if a force pushes the mandible forward, it means another force is exerted in the opposite direction, i.e. backward. And where is this force applied? To the maxilla!
If there is a mandibular problem (e.g. the mandible is too far back), the cause has to be searched in the maxilla development. Full stop.
About CranioSacral Therapy, I think it has interesting concepts, but I cannot express myself on its effectiveness.
I am sorry if I am repeating myself. I left a comment and don’t see it.
I love this site. Thank you for creating it. You are very intelligent and have great perseverance.
I am a massage therapist. I have TMD for sure. I didn’t know it was a thing. I have been researching and self-treating myself for many years.
I have sleep apnea and I just had a revelation as I was reading these pages…I think my CPAP mask is pushing my maxilla back and down.
I am going to change masks to a full face mask that puts the pressure on the forehead rather than around the nose.
So thank you for that.
Do you have experience/perspective on cranio/sacral therapy? I do self cranio/sacral on myself, including the bones of my face/head.
I would love to connect more about this..
Hi Katie. I hope I replied satisfactorily in your previous comment.
Hi and thanks for all informations. I would like to know something, i have asymmetries in my maxilla right side is upper, i’m training oral tongue posture for a week, this asymmetry will fix in time? Or my tongue pulling my maxilla up and forward will not fix this? Sorry for my bad english. It would help a lot to motivate me.
asymmetries are the most difficult part to treat. I found myself really hard to correct my asymmetry and it is my belief that, when adult, proper tongue posture alone is not enough to correct it.
What did you do to correct your asymetry in the face?
Two main things: 1. Correct tongue posture and function. 2. Special orthodontic appliances.
Hi dude and thank you for the information in this blog. I would like to ask you a question: could you please detail more what “special orthodontic appliances” have you used to treat your problem?
Hi Pier Paolo,
there is not a single specific appliance for treating these problems. The mostly used appliance is the A.L.F. (Advanced Lightwire Functional). This appliance is not magic by itself, but its effectiveness relies on the expertise of the practitioner using it, i.e. a treatment with an A.L.F. appliance can be completely wrong if the practitioner is not able to use it properly. This also implies that A.L.F. is not the only appliance available. As long as the goal of the treatment is the same, many other appliances can achieve the same exact result of an A.L.F.
Salve, ti scrivo in italiano perchè ho problemi con l’inglese e utilizzando google traduttore verrebbe fuori un casino. Ho letto tutta la tua storia e mi sono scese lacrime amare, sia per te, sia perchè ho ritrovato molte cose che hai scritto. Potrei scrivere un libro su quello che ho passato ma mi limito ad alcune cose perchè mi piacerebbe poter parlare più lungamente con te: ho sempre sofferto di mal di schiena, collo, indolenzimenti vari, ma non ci ho mai fatto troppo caso perchè non mi creavano problemi, fino a quando è arrivato il momento in cui facevo fatica ad andare in bagno. Non sentivo più la vescica e la cosa ha prodotto paura e depressione: ho consultato gli specialisti e fatto tutti gli esami ma niente è mai venuto fuori. Quando un dottore mi ha detto che “non hai niente, sembra una cosa psicosomatica” mi sono sentito preso in giro. Stavo male e tutti dicevano che fossi mezzo matto. Poi ho perso mio padre e le cose sono peggiorate. Ho iniziato ad avere tutta una serie di dolorini e disfunzioni, pelle secchissima, vista annebbiata, fitte muscolari. Un giorno ho avuto un’illuminazione, come se il cervello fosse andato a riprendere nell’ultima cassetto la soluzione: mi sono ricordato di una visita fatta da un grande fisiatra mezzo cieco che ad 8 anni mi mise dei batuffoli in bocca dicendo che non mi sarebbero mai nati gli ultimi due molari superiori (si chiama agenesia dei settimi) e con quei batuffoli io cambiavo posizione. Non so perchè non ho curato la cosa, anche se dai 12 ai 14 ho portato l’apparecchio ma il problema dell’agenesia non l’ho risolto. Così, dopo questa illuminazione, ho iniziato ad indagarmi e ho visto che per avere una chiusura della mandibola, le due arcate si sono tra loro chiuse in modo errato proprio per la mancanza di questi denti, non respiro dal naso, sento il cranio bloccato dall’interno (non so come spiegare) con gli occhi che guardano in modo sballato, tutte cose che mi ha confermato l’osteopata da cui sono andato perchè ritiene che con il tempo (ho 27 anni) il mio corpo abbia sviluppato un’infinità di compensazioni e gli occhi idem. Ora sono andato da un dentista ed ho anche prenotato una visita da uno gnatologo e intanto continuerò con l’osteopata e voglio prenotare una visita anche da un’ortopedico. Ho inoltre avuto negli ultimi 3 anni cuoio capelluto secchissimo, capelli che cambiavano colore, si sono sfibrati e soprattutto insensibilità del cuoio capelluto. Ho iniziato a perdere i capelli e nel giro di un anno e mezzo sono mezzo calvo: l’osteopata mi ha comunque consigliato di mettere dei batuffoli come una sorta di denti (per quelli mancanti) in attesa di risolvere quella questione ed ho notato che il cranio ruota come tendendo a tornare alla posizione che sarebbe normale, e sento un calore fortissimo che si produce sotto il cuoio capelluto, come se le normali funzioni vascolari si fossero azzerate. Il cranio rimane comunque bloccato, sento nervi schiacciati e ossa fuori posto. Ho inoltre scoperto che per tutti questi anni ho deglutito male e ciò ha influito su postura e dentatura. Forse però ho iniziato a capire la radice dei problemi che erano talmente somatizzati che io non sapevo neanche di averli. Dato che molte delle cose che hai scritto le sto vivendo ma che hai fatto molti più esami e conosci bene la materia, cosa mi consigli di fare? Graiderei veramente un tuo consiglio.
mi rattrista molto ricevere storie come la tua e non hai idea di quante email io riceva con storie di gente davvero disperata seguiti da una infinità di dottori incapaci di dare il minimo sollievo. Tutti i problemi e sintomi che tu mi descrivi li collego a uno sviluppo craniofacciale povero, a sua volta probabilmente causato da uso di ciucco, uso di biberon e/o svezzamento precoce con pappette. Nel tuo caso, uno sviluppo craniofacciale verticale può aver causato:
1) Limitato spazio di eruzione dei denti con i settimi che quindi vengono a mancare.
2) Vie aeree ristrette, rendendo necessaria la respirazione orale.
3) Compressione delle ossa del cranio, portando quindi a molteplici compensazioni (nel tuo caso suppongo lo strabismo sia appunto causato da una asimmetria cranica).
A sua volta questo causa tutta una serie di problemi a catena, tra cui vari compensi posturali e muscolari che possono essere alla radice dei tuoi mal di schiena, mal di collo e indolenzimenti vari che riporti. A sua volta questi compensi portano a tutta una serie di altri problemi. Immagina ad esempio lo stomaco: quando ci son compensi posturali, lo stomaco viene compresso, quindi non lavora bene e da qui la sindrome del colon irritabile. E stesso concetto si applica ad altre parti del corpo, esempio la vescica.
Mi fa venire rabbia che nonostante i pazienti non trovino sollievo nelle cure attuali proposte dalla medicina, i dottori non mettano in dubbio il proprio sapere. Mi fa venire ancora più rabbia che etichettino come genetici oppure come psicologici problemi di cui non sappiano spiegare l’origine , piuttosto che fare il possibile per indagare le effettive cause e mettere in discussione lo status quo. Se mi contatti qua (https://tmdocclusion.com/contact-us/) abbiamo modo di approfondire meglio.
A presto, buona fortuna
Amazing story, very similar to mine.
I went through the same experience, and lived the same things: family thinking I was depressed, doctors giving me unrelated pills, and friends not believing me -or at least think I was overdoing it-, also pain everywhere, muscle stiffness, neck that could not stand straight, not being able to walk etc. It destroyed 4 years of my life, and it destroyed my face as I was growing up. I ended up with a good TMJ specialist and I discovered Mike Mew – it is now a few months since I didn’t have some kind of pain in TMJs and also in the face, in the body.
I know what it is. I’m still recovering, I thought I would never. It’s like a rebirth.
Feels good when you see you’re not alone ! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your story! As I am in contact with patients and doctors all around the world and I collect their stories and experiences, please contact me here https://tmdocclusion.com/contact-us/ . I would really like to know more about your story.
Best of luck,
Please share the TMJ specialist name and address. Thank you
Hello and thanks for your interesting content.
I was wondering what your opinion is on the Myobrace?
I like the concepts and philosophy behind Myobrace. It might help in improving and learning a correct tongue posture, but I do not think opening the occlusion is the best thing to do (as also Mew suggests).
Do you advise against wearing a splint at all? I’ve started to wear a splint because of bruxism when sleeping. Is it safe to use for bruxism? I don’t want the problems you speak of, but I don’t want my teeth destroyed from grinding either.